I should have known that this would be one of those hikes where the adventure starts before you even get there.
My friends James, Josh and myself were careening down Pinto Valley Road, enjoying the freshly graded condition. We turned on FR287A, spotting some deer, and enjoying the scenery. About that time, the "low tire pressure" light came on, on my dashboard. "That's probably not good," I thought to myself. We pulled into the Miles Trailhead, exiting the vehicle in time to hear "psssss" coming from my front driver-side tire. We changed the tire and hit the trail.
West Pinto Trail (212) leaves the parking area headed west, and quickly becomes obscure, which left us wandering aimlessly around the forest. After about 10 minutes we found the intersection with the Bull Basin Trail (270). Fritski describes 2 major uphills in his hike description which I dismissed because I think I'm a tough guy. Well, the Bull Basin Trail quickly put me in my place, climbing about 1800' over the course of about 3 miles. After a much needed rest at the top of the hill, we descended into Haunted Canyon.
At the intersection with Haunted Canyon Trail (203), we decided to head a mile SE to the Tony Cabin. I wanted to see it before it collapses. There were a few large groups camped near the cabin and the spring. I took a few photos of the cabin while my friends took naps. I stopped at the spring to fill up my hydration bladder. Some members of one of the groups were pumping water from the trough. I stuck my bladder under the pipe and let the water trickle in. The group members eyeballed me like I was invading their territory and stealing precious water. They seemed dismayed that I would even think about drinking the water untreated, which I did to no ill effect.
Back at the Bull Basin/Haunted Canyon intersection, we stayed on Haunted Canyon Trail, headed north. Here is the 2nd major climb. It's only about 700' over 1.3 miles, but it kicked my butt. Turning onto the Paradise Trail (271) , another climb of about 150' puts you at the top of a pass which then leads downhill alongside Paradise Creek. This creek was dry, but there were pockets of water in the creekbed downstream of Paradise Spring.
Thinking that the adventure was over, we hiked the short distance on FR287A back to the car. I gingerly drove out, careful to avoid rocks, as donuts make me nervous. About a mile before crossing the bridge over Pinto Creek, a pick-up was headed in the opposite direction. He backed up to a wider spot in the road, but his passenger side wheels were in the rain run-off ditch. After we passed, I heard spinning tires and I saw his truck work its way deeper into the ditch. We stopped and spent a good, fun 15 minutes helping this guy get his truck out of the ditch. Good times! After dinner in Superior (Los Hermanos!), and driving my friends home ever so slowly, it ended up being 11P.M. till I got to bed. Five hours of lousy sleep later, I was getting up to hike the Peters Trail out and back with Stiller. Time for that write-up....